Sixteen faculty and staff from UGA Public Service and Outreach, Cooperative Extension and the university’s schools and colleges graduated May 11 from the Vivian H. Fisher Leadership Academy, facilitated by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

Sponsored by UGA Public Service and Outreach (PSO), the leadership program emphasizes personal leadership development and communication skills. It also helps participants recognize the role of outreach at UGA, see the scope of the work the PSO units perform across Georgia and learn how that work ties into the university’s mission.

During Friday’s graduation, Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum encouraged the class to continue the great work they do across Georgia.

“You are the front door to the university for the people of Georgia,” Frum said. “It’s so important that PSO continues to maintain a pipeline of people who love what they do and are enthusiastic about serving the university and the state. This academy is one of the best investments PSO makes.”

Over the course of nine months, the class also visited each PSO unit, Cooperative Extension and the State Capitol, where they learned about UGA’s relationships with state government officials.

“Taking part in this program gives participants the ability to better understand and develop their own leadership skills that, combined with a greater understanding of the university’s public service and outreach mission, helps prepare graduates to assume leadership roles within PSO and UGA,” Fanning Institute Director Matt Bishop said.

Tracy Arner, a faculty member at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, said she is grateful for the experience.

“This academy has been one of the highlights of my career,” Arner said. “This program has given me a greater appreciation for the state and a greater love for the mission of public service at UGA. I also learned about the importance of the willingness to step up and take advantage of opportunities when called upon.”

The academy is named for Vivian H. Fisher, who started the academy in 2007 while serving as an associate vice president for PSO. Fisher died in 2008, and the academy was named in her honor in 2012.

The 2017-2018 Vivian H. Fisher PSO Leadership Academy graduates are:

  • Tracy Arner, Carl Vinson Institute of Government;
  • Stephan Durham, UGA College of Engineering;
  • Bryan Fluech, Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant;
  • Brian Freese, Carl Vinson Institute of Government;
  • Chris James, Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach;
  • Shana Jones, Carl Vinson Institute of Government;
  • Dan Lasseter, Carl Vinson Institute of Government;
  • Jennifer Lewis, UGA College of Environment and Design;
  • Sharon Liggett, Archway Partnership;
  • Mandy Marable, UGA Cooperative Extension;
  • Jeff Miller, UGA Cooperative Extension;
  • Bart Njoku-Obi, Small Business Development Center;
  • Kiel Norris, UGA Center for Continuing Education and Hotel;
  • Josh Podvin, Office of Service Learning;
  • Shelly Prescott, State Botanical Garden of Georgia; and
  • Sarah Sorvas, UGA Center for Continuing Education and Hotel